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Hitler has nothing to do with it

Reader comment on item: The Clash to End All Clashes?
in response to reader comment: To carl & AG

Submitted by Christian (Australia), Jan 31, 2007 at 12:20

It's a minor point, but it still kinda bugs me from time to time:Hitler was not religious. He never really professed belief in a monotheistic God, his efforts were directed towards restricting the presence of Christianity in Germany, and in no way did he consider himself a Christian. However, your point remains valid and you won't have any trouble finding some Christian who has been grossly evil. Just not Hitler, so let's leave WWII to the side.

Every religion has its lunatic fringe. It's a question of how other adherents respond to that lunatic fringe that reveals the character of the faith. I live in Australia where the mufti has, over the course of the previous six months, compared women to 'uncovered meat', complained that the Australian legal system is structured to disadvantage Muslims, and declared that Muslims have more right to live on this land than anyone with convict heritage (an extremely large slice of the population). Aside from the fact that his statements are personally insulting, it was the response by the broader Islamic community to those comments that defined how the issue played. At the time that the Mufti made the earliest comment, it was met with silence from most Islamic leaders. Others even tried to justify the comments. By the time of the later comments, the general response on behalf of the Islamic community was to openly and unequivocally condemn what the Mufti had said. Numerous individuals went on the record as saying the Mufti had to go.

In the case of the later comments, the response of mainstream Australia was to focus their criticism on the Mufti, rather than on the Islamic community. Mainstream and Islamic Australia were in fact saying the same thing, and the issue became less radicalised as a result. Western societies need some sign from their migrant populations that they're being met half way. Some migrant populations, however, are naive in terms of how to deal with the media. The maturity shown by key Islamic leaders towards the end of the affair showed they had learnt the need to clearly walk away from their lunatic fringe and positively communicate this to the broader society.

That is one small component of the much larger problem confronting the world. Migrant populations need time to acquire media savy. They need time to ensure the voice of the majority is heard at the expense of the radicals. They need to allay the fears that western societies have of idealogues (remember, we've seen plenty of them over the past 150 years) and demonstrate that they do not enjoy any support. And they're learning to do that.


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